What We Treat
What is Depression
Major depressive disorder, commonly referred to as ‘depression,’ is a common, but often serious, mood disorder that impacts millions of people every year. It affects your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and can have an impact on you both physically and emotionally. People with depression often have lost interest in activities that used to get them excited and feel sad or like life is not worth living much of the time. It is important to know that depression is not something people can just ‘snap out of’ – but, with the right treatment plan, feeling better is possible.
In order to be diagnosed with depression, individuals must be experiencing their symptoms daily for at least two weeks. Some common depression symptoms include:
- Losing interest in activities that were once fun or exciting
- Feeling sad, hopeless, or ‘empty’
- Difficulty with sleep – either sleeping too much (hypersomnia) or not enough (insomnia)
- Changes in eating patterns that impact weight – either eating more or eating less
- Being easily frustrated or irritable
- Thoughts of suicide or that life is not worth living – call 911 immediately
- Lack of energy and feeling tired
- Physical aches and pains that do not have a distinct cause
- Increased anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
Types of Depression
There are many different types of depression; each has its own set of DSM-V diagnostic criteria:
Major depressive disorder
Symptoms must be present for at least two weeks for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder.
At least three courses of treatment for depression have not been effective in relieving symptoms.
Develops during pregnancy or after the birth of a child. Postpartum depression is more than just the ‘baby blues,’ which usually go away on their own approximately two weeks after delivery. Learn more about postpartum depression.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Symptom onset occurs during the fall and winter months when there is less natural light; symptoms usually get better when the weather gets warmer and days get longer. Learn more about seasonal affective disorder.
Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
Symptoms of depression have been occurring consistently for more than two years. There may be time periods when symptoms are not as severe.
Treatment for Depression
Antidepressants target depression from the perspective of brain chemistry. From a clinical perspective, depression is often a matter of neurological imbalances. Medication seeks to redress this problem and allow patients to achieve normal, non-disordered neurotransmitter function. Studies show that antidepressant medication is effective in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of depression, as well as helping to prevent these symptoms from returning. However, these benefits occur to the greatest effect in combination with psychotherapy.
Interpersonal Depression Therapy Irvine & Mission Viejo
While CBT emphasizes patterns of thought and behavior, interpersonal therapy, including depression therapy Irvine, focuses on the relationships in a person’s life. It’s typically not regarded as a long-term solution on its own, but it does have proven efficacy as a short-term treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy isn’t the only type of psychotherapy used to treat depression. However, it is the foremost option in terms of popularity and supporting evidence. CBT addresses depression via the thought patterns and expectations that accompany it. By encouraging people to view their circumstances differently, they help create new, more realistic patterns of thinking. Recent studies clearly demonstrate that CBT is capable of helping adults with depression manage and overcome the condition.
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